IBM Chairman John Akers told a group of big customers in mid-April that his company sees the desktop computer business as its most important one--and that it's determined to stay on top. He showed what he meant on Apr. 23, when IBM became the first company to introduce personal computers based on Intel's 486SX chip. In the past, IBM has usually introduced machines using new technology several months after the competition. Most of the new IBM PCs, which start at $8,345, are available now.
But in some respects, IBM is still following others. It slashed PC prices on Apr. 23--some by as much as 38%. The cuts came one week after Compaq Computer announced its own sweeping reductions. Other PC makers are also cutting prices.